GulfNews Entertainment

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First look: Sharjah’s new House of Wisdom

What is the House of Wisdom? The House of Wisdom (HoW) is Sharjah’s new cultural destination and iconic architectural marvel. It was commissioned in honor of the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 title by UNESCO and is the living legacy of the promises made then, to continue to promote reading and ease access to knowledge to all members of society and in doing so, become a progressive society. But, it is more than just a home for books. There’s cafes, working spaces, meetup hubs and even a children’s area. Where is it located? Located near the University City of Sharjah, the newly opened House of Wisdom is a reimagining of libraries for the 21st century. Does it cost money to access? No. The House of Wisdom is free to access and open to anyone looking for a space to work, study, read or relax. What does the House of Wisdom offer? Inspired by the original House of Wisdom in Baghdad, it is the modern-day interpretation of a knowledge hub where all can come to seek enrichment. This centre is a model for future libraries that blend traditional and digital sources of knowledge. It was developed by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, and offers access to a new way of knowledge exploration with books in various languages and formats, vast digital resources, a fabrication lab with 3D printers to build prototypes of experimental projects and cutting-edge technology to print and bind books within minutes. There’s even a 'Book espresso machine' which prints and binds books on demand in minutes, along with the digital self-service station. Almost as fast as it takes to make an espresso. More about the Library The library is home to 305,000 books, of which 200,000 are in the digital format and 11,000 books in various languages. The children’s library ‘The Little Reader’ houses more than 2,000 books, while another has been set aside for youth with 3,000 titles. What can I do there? It’s a place that offers a host of collaborative community spaces, including futuristic private pods, social learning, and cultural interaction. It is home to lecture halls, reading lounges, exhibition spaces, a dedicated children’s educational area, a central courtyard, a café, a restaurant, and outdoor gardens. The garden The landscape surrounding House of Wisdom is divided into two sections: The South Garden, which hosts the Japanese garden, as well as a children’s playground, while The North Garden includes a reflective pool with fountains, a cactus garden and The Scroll Monument. The Scroll Monument The Scroll is a modern interpretation of the ancient Arabic scrolls as a single, spiraling sculpture that loops towards the sky. The Scroll celebrates Sharjah’s cultural achievement as the first city in the Gulf region and third city in the Arab world to be given the World Book Capital title by UNESCO. It rises 36 meters into the sky. Ladies area Women even have their own comfortable area with bunk beds, pod chairs and beanbags to sit on and relax comfortably. Parking Free and underground

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The Rock for President? Dwayne Johnson could get behind it

HollyWood|: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as the next US President? The Hollywood actor could get behind the title, and so could his fans by the looks of it, after a magazine poll cast him as the hot contender to be America’s future Commander-in-Chief. Newsweek magazine recently ran a poll where 46 per cent Americans stated they would support Johnson’s run for president. The actor himself responded to the news in an Instagram post. “Humbling… I don’t think our Founding Fathers EVER envisioned a six-four, bald, tattooed, half-Black, half-Samoan, tequila drinking, pick up truck driving, fanny pack wearing guy joining their club — but if it ever happens it’d be my honor to serve you, the people,” the actor wrote. This isn’t the first time The Rock’s name has come up as President. While the actor has publicly addressed it on previous occasions, albeit in jest, his new show ‘Young Rock’ also has Johnson appear as a presidential candidate in year 2032. The comedy series is based on the actor’s early life; perhaps it could lay the foundation for the future as well. Johnson has addressed rumours about making a bid for president in future in previous media interviews. “I would consider a presidential run in the future if that’s what the people wanted. Truly I mean that, and I’m not flippant in any way with my answer,” he told USA Today in February. “That would be up to the people. ... So I would wait, and I would listen. I would have my finger on the pulse, my ear to the ground.”

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Irrfan Khan’s son Babil set to make his film debut

BollyWood|: Late actor Irrfan Khan’s son Babil will follow his famous father’s legendary footsteps and make his acting plunge with ‘Qala’, revealed the aspiring talent in an Instagram post on April 10. ‘Qala’ will premiere on Netflix. Babil shared a string of images from the sets of his debut film, produced by Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh’s production house Clean Slate Films. His debut film also stars ‘Bulbbul’ actress Tripti Dimri who was Sharma’s prized discovery after she cast her as the lead of her supernatural fantasy production. “Tripti freaking Dimri is back again! Whooooooo! (and a little bit of me),” Babil wrote in his Instagram post. Just like his father, Babil seems to have a sardonic sense of humour and doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. Qala Image Credit: Netflix “Also, I’m a bit skeptical about the phrase ‘getting launched’ because the audience should launch off their seats while watching our film and not any individual actor,” said Babil stoically. Going by his posts, ‘Qala’ is a relationship drama about a mother-daughter troubled bond. “Qala will be here soon to share her story of her fight for a place in her mother’s heart.” Over the years, Babil has been training and grooming himself to be a part of the Indian entertainment industry. He studied films and acting in London. His father Irrfan died after his battle with cancer in April 2020 and Babil was often seen accepting his father’s posthumous awards in the months that followed. In the teaster of ‘Qala’, they take us behind the scenes of filming where Babil and Dimri are seen shooting in snow-filled locations. Apart from sharing fond and nostalgic posts about his late father, Babil has often shown a maturity beyond his age. Recently, he posted an image of his best friend and wrote a poignant note that could also double up as a life lesson for many. “I realised that it is absolutely necessary to remember that your self-importance will drown you if you’re not extremely careful and honest with yourself. You are part of a story and the story will always be bigger than you. (Whether you are an actor or not). Have a great day today! (Also this is my friend Rabia, I have 3 friends in total, she is the oldest one.) Irrfan Khan and Babil Image Credit: Instagram.com/babil.i.k/ The release date of ‘Qala’ is yet to be revealed. His co-star Dimri is equally excited about her new film. Her hit supernatural fantasy film ‘Bulbbul’, which premiered on Netflix, instantly made her famous. “Mother-daughter relationships are sacred and often complicated. ‘Qala’ is a beautiful, heart-breaking story about a daughter who craves her mother’s love. I am ecstatic to have such incredible actors on-board and cannot wait for the world to discover the film with Tripti, Babil and Swastika. It’s always a pleasure to partner with Clean Slate Filmz and Netflix as they believe in bringing to life empowered stories like ‘Bulbbul’, and now ‘Qala’,” said Dimri in an earlier statement.

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Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut in search of inner peace

BollyWood|: Feeling overwhelmed by all that’s happening around you? Take a leaf from Bollywood actress Kananga Ranaut’s life and head to an ashram. The actress, who recently finished the filming schedule of her upcoming film ‘Tejas’, spoke about her serene experience after visiting a spiritual retreat, run by popular spiritual leader Sadhguru. The actress took to Twitter to share her experience of visiting the ashram in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Ranaut, who’s hyper-active on social media on most days, spoke at length about her experience of connecting with her inner self. “Most important is to disconnect from everything worldly and connect with our inner being …,” wrote Ranaut on Twitter, along with a picture of her kneeling with hold hands in front of an Indian deity. Her time spent at the spiritual retreat in search of calm and peace seems to have worked. She famously took the olive branch extended by actress Taapsee Pannu, who acknowledged her in her awards acceptance speech. The two actors have famously quarreled on Twitter about who’s a better actress and their skill set. So Pannu’s grand gesture was graciously accepted by Ranaut and the two seem to have cooled down and entered a better place in their tumultuous relationship. “Visiting Aashram @Ishafoundation after so long, but it’s the same serene place where chirping birds wake you up in the morning and fluttering butterflies make you hum songs that were forgotten. Nice to be indulging in yoga, meditation, and of course authentic Tamil food and coffee,” along with an image of her simple, austere living. The National Award-winning Indian actress was meant to release her new film ‘Thalaivi’, a biopic on the late Tamil politician and actress Jayalalithaa, on April 23, but she pushed the release date owing to the rising COVID-19 cases in India.

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‘Thunder Force’ review: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer are unlikely heroes saving Chicago, one mutant at a time

HollyWood|: ‘Thunder Force’, the latest in a string of dismal comic collaborations between Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, does nothing to improve upon its predecessors. It does, though, underscore how cemented in shtick McCarthy’s comic characters have become, and how much better this gifted actress deserves. Ben Falcone in Thunder Force Image Credit: Netflix Written and directed by Falcone with slapdash insouciance, the movie follows the titular duo of zaftig superheroines, Lydia and Emily (McCarthy and Octavia Spencer) as they strive to save Chicago from genetic mutants known as Miscreants. These supervillains, we learn, trace their lineage to 1983, when cosmic rays jangled their DNA. (On the plus side, the rays only worked on those already predisposed to sociopathy, conveniently releasing Thunder Force from any sticky ethical constraints.) Cast of Thunder Force Image Credit: Netflix Any crime-fighting, though, is only the silly sauce on what is essentially a story of an odd-couple female friendship. Estranged since high school, Lydia and Emily reconnect as adults when Lydia, now a Bears-loving forklift operator with an impressive beer can collection — in other words, a blue-collar cliché — stumbles into a lab where Emily, a genius geneticist, is testing mystery serums. A few pratfalls and a bit of slapstick later, Lydia has been injected with inhuman strength and Emily treats herself with the remaining serum. I have to believe Spencer was relieved to learn that the superpower it conveyed was invisibility. Thunder Force still Image Credit: Netflix As the pair, encased in costumes that make them look like unhappy 16th-century jousters, tackle an embarrassingly small number of Miscreants, a plot of sorts emerges. A skeevy mayoral candidate (Bobby Cannavale) and his pet mutant (Pom Klementieff) — who specialises in lobbing deadly balls of energy — are terrorising voters. Armed only with a supersized Taser, and musically primed by Glenn Frey, Thunder Force must stop them. Just as soon as Lydia overcomes her lust for a man with crab claws in place of arms. Bobby Cannavale and Jason Bateman in Thunder Force Image Credit: Netflix This bit of sexual slumming is enlivened considerably by Jason Bateman’s sideways-skittering performance as The Crab, a criminal with no discernible superpower and all-too-visible obstacles to romance. He’s not nearly enough, though, to rescue an indolent script with only a handful of funny lines and a seeming confusion over its target audience. The jokes are juvenile, but how many youngsters will recognise Lydia’s mimicry of a 1994 Jodie Foster in “Nell?” For McCarthy, whose 2019 Oscar nomination for .Can You Ever Forgive Me?. was exceedingly well-earned, a return to drama might not go amiss. It would certainly seem wiser than repeating projects like this one. --------- Out now! ‘Thunder Force’ is streaming now on Netflix

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Bollywood music composer's wife secretly donates kidney

BollyWood|: Donating your kidney in an attempt to save someone’s life isn’t an easy decision to make, but singer-composer Sajid Khan’s wife Lubna took that generous leap for her brother-in-law Wajid Ali. The noble gesture was revealed when her family spoke about it on an episode of the music reality show ‘Indian Pro Music League’, dedicated to late Bollywood film composer Wajid who died in June 2020 due to cardiac arrest. According to a report in IANS, it was Sajid-Wajid’s mother Razina who revealed how her daughter-in-law donated her kidney without letting anyone know about it. Brothers Sajid and Wajid Khan with singer Sonu Nigam Image Credit: GN Archives “We had asked all our relatives. However, no one came forward. During that time, Lubna secretly got all her tests done and gave him her kidney. In today’s time, even parents don’t give kidneys to their kids, but she gave it without thinking twice,” said Wajid’s mother in a video. In the same episode, Lubna — who chose to extend help to Wajid — recalled that she made that life-altering decision because her brother-in-law was dear to her and his survival meant a lot for their family. “When I heard that someone else can also donate him a kidney, I didn’t ask anyone. I just got all the tests done. Before the last test, I told Wajid everything and told him that if we’re a match, we’ll go for a transplant. He was very upset, but I told him, ‘you’re very important to me’, and that left him speechless. The person who has always stood by everyone, if his family doesn’t stand by him in his time of need, then it is very shameful. Thankfully, we were a match. Sajid, my mother, and my children were very supportive,” said Lubna. But despite her kidney donation, Ali didn’t survive for long. Last year, Wajid’s sibling broke the tragic news to their fans. “Our dearest Wajid passed away at the age of 47 due to a cardiac arrest on 1st of June at 00:30 am in Surana Sethia hospital. He had a successful kidney transplant last year and he was undergoing treatment for a throat infection,” wrote Sajid. At the time of his death, it was speculated that Wajid had contracted COVID-19 and couldn’t survive the transplant due to his immunity being compromised. But the family did not clarify or comment on the speculation. Soon after Wajid’s death, his mother was hospitalised due to COVID-19. Sajid-Wajid, the sibling composer duo were prominent artists in the Bollywood music scene. This pair first composed the music for Salman Khan’s ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya’ in 1998 and followed it up with hit songs featuring Khan mostly. Their hits include ‘Mashallah’ from the hit film ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and all songs from the ‘Dabangg’ blockbuster.

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Prince William drops out of BAFTA Awards following the death of Prince Philip

HollyWood|: Prince William has dropped out of tonight’s BAFTA Awards following the death of his grandfather, Prince Philip. The news was confirmed by Variety, which carried a statement from the British film awards body. “In light of The Duke of Edinburgh’s passing, The Duke of Cambridge will no longer be part of BAFTA programming this weekend,” said BAFTA in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy at this time.” Britain's Prince Philip Image Credit: Reuters As President of BAFTA, Prince William is usually in attendance at the awards night, accompanied by his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. The British royal was scheduled to give a speech at Sunday’s awards through a live link. However, following the death of his grandfather who was also a president of the organization in 1959, the family thought it was inappropriate to attend. It is being speculated that the BAFTA Film Awards will pay tribute to Prince Philip in some capacity tonight. The royal funeral will be a private family affair on April 17, which will be held at St George’s Chapel, in the grounds of Windsor Castle, with Prince Harry flying in from the US to attend. His wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex will not be in attendance due to her pregnancy. The couple have been trying to heal a rift between them and the royals following their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.

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Veteran Bollywood actor Satish Kaul dies from complications arising from COVID-19

BollyWood|: Bollywood actor Satish Kaul, who played a significant role in the 1973 romance ‘Prem Parbat’ and as Lord Indra in BR Chopra’s hit mythological series ‘Mahabharat’, died in a hospital in Punjab on April 10 due to complications arising from COVID-19. He was 74. According to a report in PTI, Kaul’s sister said the actor had contracted COVID-19 last week and was hospitalised in Ludhiana. “He died today morning due to COVID-19 at the hospital. He had a fever and wasn’t keeping well. We admitted him to the hospital on Thursday and got him tested, where it turned out that he was COVID-19 positive,” Satya Devi told PTI. Kaul, a Bollywood outsider, did not have a successful inning in the entertainment industry and is known to have struggled for acting jobs. In May 2020, he publicly sought for work and urged his colleagues to help him during the lockdown in India. “I’m struggling for medicines, groceries, and basic needs. I appeal to the industry people to help me. I got so much love as an actor, I need some attention now as a human in need,” he told PTI. At that time, he also claimed that he was desperate for work and was open to any acting job to keep his life afloat. “It’s OK if they’ve forgotten me. I got so much love and I’m grateful. I will forever be indebted to the audience for that. Right now, I wish I can buy a decent place of my own where I can stay. The fire to act is still alive in me. It isn’t over. I wish someone gives me a role even today, any role, and I would do it. I’m raring to act again,” Kaul told PTI at the time. Like thousands of actor hopefuls who enter Bollywood to take a stab at acting and fame, Kaul’s career saw several lows. His credits include playing supporting roles in films such as ‘Shiva ka Insaaf’ and ‘Inaam Dus Hazaar’. He also worked with director Pahlaj Nihalani in his films including ‘Ilzaam’ and ‘Aag Hi Aag’. In an interview published in Bollywood Hungama, Nihalalni describes Kaul as “hard-working, friendly, hungry for work, always eager to face the camera, always wondering where the next meal would come from.” But his eagerness and earnestness did not translate to more work. After offers in Bollywood dried up, Kaul set his eyes on Punjabi cinema and was seen in films including ‘Jatt Punjabi’ and ‘Lacchi and Rano’. He also featured in television serials such as ‘Vikram-Vetal’ and ‘Mahabharat’. In 2015, he had a hip-replacement surgery and was bed-ridden, which brought any dream of reviving his acting career to a halt. Despite his public plea for work and financial assistance, not much help came his way on both fronts and he met with an inglorious end.

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Chloe Zhao becomes second woman to win top Directors Guild Award

HollyWood|: The Directors Guild of America made history Saturday night, giving the group’s top prize for feature-film directing to Chloé Zhao (‘Nomadland’), the first woman of colour to receive the award and only the second woman ever to win in the category, after Kathryn Bigelow (‘The Hurt Locker’). Zhao was considered the heavy favorite after a dominant awards-season run for her film that has also included top honors at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Producers Guild Awards, and she will now enter Oscar night as the prohibitive front-runner, since the DGA winner has won the best-director Oscar 13 of the last 15 times. Frances McDormand in Nomadland Image Credit: AP A best-picture victory for ‘Nomadland’ appears increasingly likely, too: Few films have gone on to take the Oscars’ top prize without first winning at the DGA or PGA. Still, one of those curveballs came just last year, when ‘Parasite’ won best picture without either of those trophies but after netting a high-profile win at the Screen Actors Guild. That may provide a path forward for ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’, which also pulled off a SAG victory last week. But though that film’s director, Aaron Sorkin, was nominated alongside Zhao for the DGA Award, he was snubbed for a directing nomination at the Oscars. In her acceptance speech, Zhao offered fulsome praise for Sorkin — “I can feel my heart beating with yours when I watch your film,” she said — as well as for the other nominees, Lee Isaac Chung (‘Minari’), Emerald Fennell (‘Promising Young Woman’) and David Fincher (‘Mank’). Mank, directed by David Fincher Image Credit: Netflix And though he didn’t win, Fincher may have gotten the line of the night when he was asked to sum up his career: “Directing,” Fincher said, “is a bit like trying to paint a watercolour from four blocks away through a telescope, over a walkie-talkie, and 85 people are holding the brush.” In other news at the virtual ceremony, the award for first-time feature-film directing went to Darius Marder for ‘Sound of Metal’. while the documentary prize went to Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw for ‘The Truffle Hunters’, which was snubbed by the Oscars. Here is the full list of winners: Feature: Chloé Zhao, ‘Nomadland’ First-Time Feature: Darius Marder, ‘Sound of Metal’ Documentary: Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, ‘The Truffle Hunters’ Television Movies and Limited Series: Scott Frank, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Dramatic Series: Lesli Linka Glatter, ‘Homeland’ Comedy Series: Susanna Fogel, ‘The Flight Attendant’ Variety/Talk/News/Sports (Regularly Scheduled): Don Roy King, ‘Saturday Night Live’ Variety/Talk/News/Sports (Specials): Thomas Schlamme, ‘A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote’ Reality Programs: Joseph Guidry, ‘Full Bloom Commercials: Melina Matsoukas, ‘You Love Me’ for Beats by Dr. Dre Children’s Programs: Amy Schatz, ‘We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest’

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How Prince Philip navigated the most challenging of corporate dress codes

HollyWood|Fashion|Europe|: There is a moment in the first season of 'The Crown' when actor Tobias Menzies, playing the perennially tetchy consort of Queen Elizabeth II, bristles at the constraints of his job. With a case of lockjaw severe enough to cause concern for his molars, Menzies portrays the Duke of Edinburgh (whom the queen would not make a prince until five years after she succeeded to the throne) as an arch complainer, a man who views the 20th-century monarchy as little more than “a coat of paint” on a crumbling Empire. “If the costumes are grand enough, if the tiaras sparkle enough, if the titles are preposterous enough, if the mythologies are incomprehensible enough, then all must be fine,” says Menzies, playing the man who would become Prince Philip. And, as it turns out, the script got it mostly right. Prince Philip, who died Friday at age 99, may have been wrapped in a cloak of dramatic hooey to become a character in the hit Netflix series. But the role, as written, is rooted in established fact. Britain's Prince Philip Image Credit: Reuters Headstrong by reputation, opinionated, notoriously brusque, Philip was also in important ways the model of a company man. By the time he stepped down from his official royal duties in August 2017, he had spent seven decades obediently working for The Firm, a term for the royal family credited to the Queen’s father, King George VI. Fulfilling the requirements of a job for which there is no precise standard, unless you consider second fiddle a job description, the prince slogged through a staggering 22,219 solo public engagements over his long lifetime. In doing so, he navigated the most challenging of corporate dress codes for more than 65 years. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Image Credit: AFP The brief was clear from the outset: The queen’s consort should be impeccable yet unassuming, irreproachable in style without drawing your eye away from one of the richest, and certainly the most famous, woman on Earth. the clothes Queen Elizabeth II wore in public were engineered to meet programmatic requirements — bright colours and lofty hats to make this diminutive human easy to spot; symbolically freighted jewelry (the Japanese pearl choker, the Burmese ruby tiara, the Obama brooch!); symbols and metaphors embroidered onto her gowns — those of Philip were tailored to keep him faultlessly inconspicuous. As a clotheshorse, he had certain natural advantages, of course. “He was staggeringly good-looking, tall and athletic,” said Nick Sullivan, creative director of Esquire. “That never does any harm when it comes to wearing clothes.” Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Image Credit: AFP Beyond that, though, were a series of confident and knowing choices. For decades, the prince’s suits were made for him by John Kent, a Savile Row artisan who began his tailoring apprenticeship at 15. The prince’s shirts came from Stephens Brothers, and his bespoke shoes came from century-and-a-half-old bootmaker John Lobb. In the neatly folded white handkerchief Philip habitually squared off in his breast pocket (another was kept in his trousers) could be seen a telling contrast with the dandyish puff of silk favoured by his eldest son. Unlike other members of the royal family whose tastes run to costly baubles and fine Swiss timepieces, Philip habitually wore “a plain watch with a brown leather strap,” as The Independent once reported, and a copper bracelet intended to ease arthritis. He left his large hands free of jewelry and roughly manicured. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1962 Image Credit: AP If he looked best in sporting clothes, it was because he was a true sportsman, captain of both the cricket and hockey teams at boarding school in Scotland, a polo player well past his 40s, and an active participant in international coaching competitions until late in life. He was also the only member of The Firm’s inner circle before Meghan Markle to have been foreign-born. This, too, may have given him a style advantage since it is often true that outsiders can bring a fresh eye to staid sartorial conventions, both enlivening and improving them. (It took the Japanese to explain denim to Americans and the Neapolitans to demonstrate for the English how to perfect English style.) Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, with her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their children Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Clarence House, the royal couple’s London residence. Image Credit: Agencies Search online and you will not find an image of Philip committing a style solecism. There is never a novelty tie or a funny hat. For that matter, and except on obligatory state occasions, there is little enough of the comic operetta regalia beloved of Philip’s uncle, Louis Mountbatten, the First Earl Mountbatten of Burma — no braiding, no frogging, no sashes or fringed and gilded epaulets. The paradox of Philip’s life may have been that he, as the husband of a queen and father of a future king, was essential to power although insignificant to its workings. And he often jokingly disparaged himself as the “world’s most experienced plaque unveiler.” Yet it was probably in that role that he did his best work for the family business, since a glimpse of this elegant and diffident man was the closest most Britons would ever come to royalty’s attenuated realities and burnished grandeur. In that sense, Philip was never “dressed,” in any conventional manner, so much as he was outfitted for purpose.

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Tom Cruise cancels summer date at the cinemas with ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ delayed again

HollyWood|: Fans who were hoping to get the summer action back on track at the cinemas will be disappointed to learn that one of the biggest films to release has been postponed yet again. Tom Cruise’s much-awaited ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, which was scheduled to drop on July 2 and cash in on the US Independence Day weekend rush, has now been pushed to November 19, according to Deadline. Top Gun 1986 Image Credit: Paramount The Paramount/Skydance release has now locked in on the date that was also occupied by Cruise and his Abu Dhabi shot action film, ‘Mission: Impossible 7’, which in turn will now release next summer, on May 27, 2022, thus pushing the release of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ to March 3, 2023. Meanwhile, ‘Mission: Impossible 8’, which was also extensively filmed in the UAE capital, will now get a July 7, 2023 releases, instead of November 4, 2022. The sequel to the 1986 hit ‘Top Gun’ was initially scheduled to release on June 24 last year, which was later pushed to December 23 on account of the coronavirus pandemic. The Joseph Kosinski directorial later was pushed to 2021 summer before this most recent delay. Released in 1986, ‘Top Gun’ was apparently inspired by a magazine article on Navy pilots. The film followed the life of a fighter pilot and launched Cruise’s career as a global action star. The sequel picks up decades after the 1986 box office hit. It also features Miles Teller as the son of Goose, Maverick’s partner who died in the original film. Following the pandemic delays and stalled shoots, the domino effect also messed up with the next two installments in Cruise’s ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, which ultimately moved its shoot to Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, the summer isn’t entirely lost for movie fans. Deadline reports that Universal has slotted Blumhouse’s ‘The Forever Purge’ for a July 2 now.

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Have Bollywood stars Kangana Ranaut and Taapsee Pannu buried the hatchet?

BollyWood|: Looks like 2021 has a number of surprises in store for us, including the news that Kangana Ranaut and Taapsee Pannu may have called off their feud. While no official peace offering has been declared by either side, the stars did step out of their way to pay each other a compliment, which is probably a first for both in years. It all started when Pannu, who took home the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for ‘Thappad’ gave a shout out to Ranaut during her acceptance speech. A video that has now gone viral on social media sees Pannu thanking Ranaut for raising the bar for all actors in the industry. “Thank you Kangana for pushing the boundaries. The benchmark of your performances keeping going higher every year,” Pannu says on the video. A Twitter user tagged Ranaut on the video with a sarcastic comment, but the actress surprised everyone with her response. “Thank you @taapsee well deserved Vimal elaichi film fare award… no one deserves it more than you,” Ranaut wrote. Ranaut herself was in the running for the Best Actress award for her film ‘Panga’. Interestingly, she did go on to win the Indian National Award for the same film, along with ‘Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi’, which she also directed. Reactions to Ranaut’s tweet and the video were polarized. One Pannu fan tweeted: “@taapsee she never keep grudges inside she is clear she doesn't interfere in your matter she never demean you on any point she never targeted you. @KanganaTeam ur the one who always trying to show that u r superior ur mahaan ur the best. She deserves best she did hardwork.” While similar messages followed, fans of Ranaut also pitched in with their own version of the story. “Why Taapsee included Kangana in her so fancy thanks giving speech that too for chindi [worthless] award, it's very evident that Taapsee gave a well dramatic speech to pretend to be nice & kind. But @KanganaTeam, u can also avoid these negative things on SM. There's a much brighter side of SM.” Pannu found herself on the receiving end of criticism from Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel in 2019, after the ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ actress failed to mention Ranaut’s name in her appreciation tweet for the trailer of ‘Judgementall Hai Kya?’. Chandel could not let this go and neither would her sister. “Kuch log Kangana ko copy kar ke he apni dukaan chalate hain [Some people run their shop by copying Kangana], magar [but] please note, they never acknowledge her, not even a mention of her name in praising the trailer. Last, I heard Taapseeji said Kangana needs a double filter and Taapseeji you need to stop being a sasti copy [cheap copy].” Pannu came back with her on response saying: “Short life, no time to waste on this. Have so many happier and better things happening in my life to look at right now.” Since, both Ranaut and Pannu have been at a social media war of words.

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Bollywood on backburner as Pawan Kalyan, Dhanush storm the box office with ‘Vakeel Saab’ and ‘Karnan’

While Bollywood releases are stuck in limbo on account of the rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and cinemas pulling down the shutters in the Indian state, South Indian films are storming the box office with a bumper weekend that saw two major releases. Power star (called by fans) Pawan Kalyan marked his return to celluloid with ‘Vakeel Saab’, out now in UAE cinemas, along with Dhanush who brought the action with the Tamil film ‘Karnan’. Both films have received a bumper opening, with Telugu film ‘Vakeel Saab’ opening at number 7 position in Australia and New Zealand. The film has collected around Rs420 million in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This is despite the rise in coronavirus cases in the country and the movie being leaked online. The UAE ranking wasn’t available at time of writing. Karnan Image Credit: IMDB Earlier, UAE distributor Ahmad Golchin of Phars Films told Gulf News they had a lot of expectations from the film, which is a remake of the Bollywood film ‘Pink’. “Pawan Kalyan is called a ‘power star’ for all the right reasons. He has this incredible star power, charisma and has a nose for some great scripts. I have seen this film and I promise that this is film that will leave a lasting impression on you. I am confident that this film will lure every one back into the cinemas,” said Golchin in an interview with Gulf News. Meanwhile, ‘Karnan’ is being touted as a career best for Dhanush, with the film earning Rs100m in one day alone, according to box office reports.

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Bollywood facing a COVID-19 crisis as cases surge, shoots stall

BollyWood|: The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has formed a “monitoring team” to ensure that all COVID-19 shooting guidelines - including safety precautions on set, avoiding filming of crowd sequences - are strictly followed amid the surge in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra. The film and TV industries have been badly hit due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the state and particularly the capital city of Mumbai. Several on-ground productions like ‘Ram Setu’, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and Dharma Productions-backed ‘Mr Lele’ halted shoots after their leading actors, including Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal and Bhumi Pednekar tested positive for coronavirus. Gangubai Kathiawadi Image Credit: IMDB Apart from the actors, as many as 45 members of Kumar’s ‘Ram Setu’ have reportedly also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, even as the makers deny this. According to a statement from the FWICE, the office-bearers had a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and assured him that the industry will be “responsible” in following the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure). “FWICE in coordination with experts has laid down guidelines which all people involved in pre-production, shooting and post-production work will have to adhere to. These guidelines as of now will be applicable till April 30,” the statement read. According to the new guidelines, shooting of crowd sequences and songs with dancers in large numbers will not be allowed. Image Credit: Insta/bhumipednekar and Insta/ vickykaushal09 “Wearing of masks and continuous sanitization are compulsory on the sets, in production offices, and in post-production studios. “An FWICE monitoring team has been constituted to visit sets and post-production studios regularly to check that all guidelines are being followed. Any individual or production unit flouting the rules or creating any kind of hindrance in the adherence of the guidelines will face disciplinary action,” the statement read. The Maharashtra government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown in the state from 8pm on Friday to 7am on Monday in a bid to curb the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. “Shooting, setting, pre-production activities should be avoided during this period (of weekend lockdown). It is permissible to shoot from Monday to Friday. All members are hereby advised to schedule their shootings as per the above permissible days,” the statement added. The statement was signed by B N Tiwari, FWICE President, Ashok Dubey, General Secretary, Gangeshwar Srivastav, Treasurer and chief advisors Sharad Shelar and filmmaker Ashok Pandit. Maharashtra reported close to 58,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday.